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We enjoyed this stay/cruise and felt it compared favourably to our previous river cruise with Viking. 2 nights pre-cruise in Madrid plus 2 nights post-cruise in Lisbon with a week on the Douro in between was a formula that worked very well. I think in fact if we had opted for the more usual 7 days Porto-Porto we would have felt slightly underwhelmed. The Queen Isabel was comfortable and well run. We found the staff on board to be friendly, helpful and efficient. The stateroom was adequate, with a comfortable bed, small balcony and good shower. The lounge was spacious and relaxing, with a good bar, run by the excellent Jose. There was a good selection of drinks, all (including spirits and cocktails) fully-inclusive. The dining room was good -there were varied menus, with several standard dishes always available if the day's selection of fish and meat did not appeal. The vegetarian options were also tasty. There was also the option of having a light breakfast or lunch in the lounge, or the open deck at the bow. This is a good idea, but would have been even better if the choice of dishes had been somewhat wider, especially at lunch - say soup, a salad bar and some cold cuts. A nice touch at dinner was the selection of local wines, changing almost every day, from the regions we were passing through. The Douro itself is a very tranquil river. In the upper reaches there is very little in the way of habitation, and the views are of terraced vineyards with a scattering of olive trees. Daily excursions, apart from wineries, thus usually involved an hour or two's drive by bus. Salamanca was very interesting, with incredible architecture. A number of smaller locations - e.g. Lamego, Amarante and Guimaraes were also enjoyable. In Porto, there is a great deal to see and do, all within easy reach of the berthing location. Those who had booked directly with Uniworld (essentially Americans, Canadians and Australians) had fully inclusive tours also in Madrid and Lisbon. Those from the UK, booked via Imagine Cruising, had B&B arrangements in both of these cities, but otherwise were left to their own devices. Uniworld's arrangements were flawless; Imagine Cruising were very slow to send out tickets and the itinerary they supplied was incorrect (missing out a day!), which was not very impressive. However, their prices were significantly lower than Uniworld's posted rates, and overall we felt the holiday was very satisfactory and good value.

Serene Cruising

Queen Isabel Cruise Review by wdcw

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We enjoyed this stay/cruise and felt it compared favourably to our previous river cruise with Viking. 2 nights pre-cruise in Madrid plus 2 nights post-cruise in Lisbon with a week on the Douro in between was a formula that worked very well. I think in fact if we had opted for the more usual 7 days Porto-Porto we would have felt slightly underwhelmed.

The Queen Isabel was comfortable and well run. We found the staff on board to be friendly, helpful and efficient. The stateroom was adequate, with a comfortable bed, small balcony and good shower. The lounge was spacious and relaxing, with a good bar, run by the excellent Jose. There was a good selection of drinks, all (including spirits and cocktails) fully-inclusive. The dining room was good -there were varied menus, with several standard dishes always available if the day's selection of fish and meat did not appeal. The vegetarian options were also tasty. There was also the option of having a light breakfast or lunch in the lounge, or the open deck at the bow. This is a good idea, but would have been even better if the choice of dishes had been somewhat wider, especially at lunch - say soup, a salad bar and some cold cuts. A nice touch at dinner was the selection of local wines, changing almost every day, from the regions we were passing through.

The Douro itself is a very tranquil river. In the upper reaches there is very little in the way of habitation, and the views are of terraced vineyards with a scattering of olive trees. Daily excursions, apart from wineries, thus usually involved an hour or two's drive by bus. Salamanca was very interesting, with incredible architecture. A number of smaller locations - e.g. Lamego, Amarante and Guimaraes were also enjoyable. In Porto, there is a great deal to see and do, all within easy reach of the berthing location.

Those who had booked directly with Uniworld (essentially Americans, Canadians and Australians) had fully inclusive tours also in Madrid and Lisbon. Those from the UK, booked via Imagine Cruising, had B&B arrangements in both of these cities, but otherwise were left to their own devices. Uniworld's arrangements were flawless; Imagine Cruising were very slow to send out tickets and the itinerary they supplied was incorrect (missing out a day!), which was not very impressive. However, their prices were significantly lower than Uniworld's posted rates, and overall we felt the holiday was very satisfactory and good value.
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